Stephenson County Juvenile Crime

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Stephenson County board members are taking a second look at how they deal with young criminals.

County Board Chairman John Blum is calling for more programs that invest in youth, rather than just punish them. He says too many tax dollars are spent on sending kids to juvenile detention.

The organizers of the group "Youth Becoming Leaders" hope the county will shift some funding to programs like theirs. They help kids earn their GEDs and find jobs after they get out of detention centers. Teens who go through the program say it's convinced them to turn away from a life of crime.

"If I was still out there doing those things I'd have to worry about getting jumped or people retaliating and things like that. Now I don't have to worry about any of that because I'm with Youth Becoming Leaders, trying to get back on track," 17-year-old Derek Keys said.

If you would like to help support Youth Becoming Leaders, or if you would like to enroll a child in the program, contact Matt at 291-7390.

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